Metasequoia - the Basics
This document explains the function of almost all the buttons & menu
items found in the Freeware version of Metasequoia.
Title Bar Displays the name of the program (Metasequoia) and the name of the document that is being edited.
THE TOP TOOL BAR
Closes the existing document, and starts a new blank document. If you have made changes to an existing document, you will be asked whether or not you want to save the changes.
Closes the existing document, and opens the document that you specify using the "Open File Dialog". If you have made changes to an existing document, you will be asked whether or not you want to save the changes.
The currently edited document is saved. If you haven't saved the document before, you will be asked where to save it using a Save File dialog.
Allow you to save a new copy of the current document, with a new name. This new copy becomes the current document.
Loads an object from a file and inserts it into the current document.
Brings up a dialog that allows you to configure various options.
This menu item toggles Basic Mode on and off. When Basic Mode is on, only the most important commands and menu items are visible.
Shows recently opened documents.
Exits Metasequoia. If your document has been edited, you will be asked if you want
to save it.
Undoes the last operation. You can undo multiple operations.
Redoes the most recently undone operation. If you have undone multiple operations in a row, you can redo one or more of them.
All the vertices, edges, and faces are selected.
Invert all the Selection of Vertices:
Selects all the currently unselected vertices, and at the same time unselects all the currently selected vertices.
Invert all the Selection of Faces:
Selects all the currently unselected faces, and at the same time unselects all the currently selected faces.
Cancels the current selection. After using this command, nothing is selected.
Select All in a Current Object:
Like "Select All", except that only vertices, edges, and faces that are part of the "Current Object" are selected.
Invert all the Selection of Vertices in a Current Object:
Like "Invert all the Selection of Vertices", except that it only applies to the current object.
Invert all the Selection of Faces in a Current Object:
Like "Invert all the Selection of Faces", except that it only applies to the current object.
Unselect All in a Current Object:
Like "Unselect all", except that it only applies to the current object.
Select all the Faces in a Current Material:
Selects all the faces that are set to the current material.
Unselect all the Faces in a Current Material:
Unselects all the faces that are set to the current material.
If this menu item is checked, then the current selection is locked, which means that it won't be changed by any of the 'Move' or 'Selection' commands.
Hide selected faces:
The currently selected faces are hidden. (Use 'Show hidden faces' to make them visible again.)
Hide unselected faces:
All faces that are not currently selected are hidden. Use 'Show hidden faces' to make them visible again.
Show hidden faces:
Any faces hidden by 'Hide selected faces' or 'Hide unselected faces' are shown.
Fix selected faces and vertices:
The currently selected faces and vertices are fixed in place, so they can't be moved by the 'Move', 'Rotate' or 'Scale' tools.
Unfix selected faces and vertices:
This menu item reverses the effects of the 'Fix selected faces and vertices' command. It makes all the currently selected faces and vertices free to move again.
Using this menu item when you have the 'Move', 'Rotate', 'Scale', or 'Select' tools active, makes the current selection sticky - the current items will stay selected, even if you select some other items as well.
Will allow the storage of up to four different selections.
Will allow you to recall selections previously stored with 'Store Selection'. Restored Selections add to the current selection.
Set centre of rotation:
The currently selected items become the centre-of-rotation for the perspective view. If you don't have anything selected, then the origin (point 0,0,0) is chosen. This menu item only works if you have set the 'Centre of Rotation' to 'Fix' on the 'Action' panel of the 'Environment Options' panel. ('Fix' is the default setting.)
Fit to view:
Adjusts the perspective window's camera position so that the current selection is fully visible. If nothing is currently selected, then the whole scene is made fully visible.
Deletes the selected vertices, edges, and faces, and copies the deleted items to the clipboard.
Copies the selected vertices, edges, and faces to the clipboard.
A new object is created from the vertices, edges, and faces that are on the clipboard.
Deletes the selected vertices, edges, and faces.
Flips the direction that the selected faces are pointing in.
Double Sided Face:
The selected faces are made into double-sided faces. This means that the faces will be visible when viewed from both the front and backsides.
Extrudes the currently selected faces. Works just like the Extrusion tool. One benefit of using the Extrusion tool instead of the 'Extrude Faces' menu item is that with the tool you can specify the distance moved.
Creates a mirror-image copy of the selected vertices, edges, and faces. When you choose this menu item, a dialog box appears that allows you to specify which plane to use as the mirror.
Move Faces to New Object:
A new object is created, and the selected faces are moved from their old object to the new object.
Merge Two Triangles:
Two adjacent selected triangles are merged into a single quad. This is the same as the Wire Tool's 'Merge two triangles into a quad' button. Divides each selected quad into two triangles. This is the same as the Wire Tool's 'Divide a quadrangle into two triangles' button.
Triangulate Selected Faces:
Divides each selected quad into two triangles. This is the same as the Wire Tool's 'Divide a quadrangle into two triangles' button.
The two selected vertices are moved into a symmetrical position. In order for this menu item to work, the two selected vertices have to be part of the same mesh, and they have to already be on opposite sides of the Y-Z plane. (In other words, one pixel has a positive X position, and the other pixel has a negative X position.)
Two or more vertices are joined together. In order to be joined, vertices have to be in the same mesh.
Allows you to align a group of selected vertices to the same X, Y, and/or Z position. A dialog box allows you to specify which axes to align upon, as well as what value to align the points to.
Allows you to flatten out irregularities in a mesh. You are presented with a dialog box that you can use to interactively adjust your mesh. Moving the slider towards the 'Rough' side increases the irregularities in the mesh. Moving the slider towards the 'Smooth' side decreases the irregularities.
The selected edges are replaced with quads and triangles, so that the mesh becomes more rounded.
Converts a smoothed or mirrored object into a simple polygon mesh.
Shift the Position:
Brings up a dialog box that allows you to position the selected object relative to the X, Y, and/or Z-axes.
Join Closed Vertices:
Any vertices in the current object, which are close to each other, are joined together. (A dialog box appears, which you use to specify how close together the vertices need to be.)
Simplifies a mesh. Brings up a dialog box that allows you to specify how many vertices to reduce the mesh to.
Attempts to align all the faces to point in the same direction.
Delete Overlapped Faces:
When two faces share the same set of vertices, one of the two faces is deleted.
If any double-sided faces are found in the current objects mesh, one of the two faces is deleted.
Brings up a dialog that displays information about the currently open document. This dialog also lets you set the colour and direction of the light for the 3D Perspective view. (Using the 'Lighting' command panel can also set the direction.)
Brings up a dialog box that lets you interactively edit the camera orientation for the perspective view. If you hold down the 'Shift' key when choosing this menu item, the perspective view is reset to the default orientation. (When you use the Shift key no dialog box is displayed.)
Brings up a dialog box that lets you change the properties of the grid. The grid is used for snapping vertices to evenly spaced locations, which can make it easier to draw 3D shapes.
Enables the display of lighting in the Perspective view. If you have a slow system this might slow down the display of the mesh. Use the'Document Information' menu item to set the light's colour and direction.
Enables the display of textures in the perspective view. Depending on your graphics hardware this might slow down the display of the mesh.
Enables smooth shading.
Show only faces in a current object:
Only the current object's faces are displayed. Use the 'Object Panel' to switch which object is the current object.
Show only lines and vertices in a current object:
Only the current object's edges and vertices are shown. Use the 'Object Panel' to switch which object is the current object.
Show selected parts only:
Only selected vertices and edges are shown.
Lines overwrite faces:
Edges and vertices are drawn in front of faces, even if they would normally be hidden behind the faces. This gives you an 'X-Ray' view of the object.
This panel displays a list of all the objects in your document, and lets you control whether each object is visible, and/or locked. You can also select the current object.
An alternate way of performing the Movement, Scale, Rotation, commands. You use the panel by clicking down on one of the buttons, and then dragging the mouse Left/Right. (Or Up/Down if you prefer.) Be careful using the scale operation - if you don't scale all three axes equally you will be changing the shape of your object. Hold the 'Shift' key down to constrain the rotation to 15-degree increments.
Displays context-sensitive help. Typically tells you what clicking the mouse would do, given the currently selected tool. The status bar also displays the number of currently selected vertices (V), the number of currently selected faces (F) and whether or not the current selection is 'locked' or not.
There is a floating panel, called the sub panel, which displays additional controls related to the currently selected command. It can be positioned anywhere inside the main Metasequoia window.
There are four floating panels (controlled by four buttons on the 'System' command panel) that give additional information about your scene. They are the 'Object' panel, which lists all the objects in your scene, the 'Object Properties' panel, which lists the properties of the currently selected object, the 'Material' panel, which lists the materials in a scene, and the 'Material Properties' panel, which lists the properties of the currently selected material.
The command panels allow you to choose commands, set command modes, and set display options. There are six groups of commands. You can expand or contract the panels by clicking on their titles. If the main Metasequoia window is too small to display all of the panels, you can scroll the panels vertically by clicking on the grey area of the left or right margin of the command panels, and dragging vertically.
System: File input and output, material set-up, and so on. These operations are identical to the corresponding Menu items.
Edit: Undo / Redo, selection modification, and hiding / locking of objects. These options are mostly the same as the corresponding Menu items.
Command: These buttons allow you to perform various operations details below.
Selection: You can select vertices, edges, and faces by choosing the Select tool and
clicking in the 3D window. There are four different ways of using the 'Select' tool. Clicking on the corresponding button in the Select sub-panel controls these.
Normal: This is the normal selection method, if you click on a vertex, edge, or face, you will select it. If you hold the shift key while clicking you can add to or remove from your selection. If you hold down the shift key and drag, you can select multiple vertices or faces at once.
Joined Face: Click on a vertex (or a face), and all connected vertices (or faces) will be selected. Use with the shift key to add to, or remove from an existing selection. You can't use this selection mode with edges.
Belt: A belt is a continuous strip of quads that share alternate edges. Belts do not have to be closed. Click on an edge, and the belt of vertices and faces associated with that edge would be selected. Click on more than one edge to select multiple belts at once. If you click on an already-selected edge, you will deselect the belt associated with that edge.
CurObj: The object that you click on becomes the current object.
Rect and Rope
These tools select the vertices, edges, and faces in the area you define by dragging the mouse. Hold down the Shift key to add to the current selection. Hold down the Ctrl (Control) key to subtract from the current selection.
Rect: Rect allows you to drag out a rectangle from where you click down on the mouse button until you let go of the mouse button. The vertices, edges, and faces in this area are selected.
Rope: Rope allows you to draw a freehand shape with the mouse. The vertices, edges, and faces in this freehand area are selected.
Note: If you're using another tool, such as the 'Move' or 'Rot' tool, you can select faces without switching tools. Just click and drag on an unselected area of the 3D window. When you do this, the selection operation acts like either the Rect tool or the Rope tool, depending upon how you've set the 'Rc' and 'Rp' controls in the 'Edit Options' command panel.
Move & Scale
The Move tool moves the currently selected vertices, edges, and faces.
Move the selected items relative to the current position of the object. So +1 in the X field moves the object one unit in the X direction.
Move the selected items relative to the origin of the 3D scene.
Scale: Enlarge or shrink the currently selected vertices, edges, and faces.
When you scale using the centre of the handle, every axis (X Y Z) is scaled by the same amount. This maintains an object's proportions.
Scales taking perspective effects into account.
X Y Z Axis
Constrains scaling to only affect the X, Y, or Z dimensions of the selected items.
Brings up a dialog box that lets you type in the exact X, Y, and Z scale factors, as well as the 3D point that serves as the origin for the scaling operation.
Rot allows you to rotate the currently selected vertices, edges, and faces.
Lets you tumble the object in three directions, as if you were rotating a ball.
Rotation using screen coordinates. Can cause distortion if you rotate in the perspective view.
X-axis, Y-axis, and Z-axis:
Used to constrain the rotation to a particular direction.
Brings up a dialog box that you can use to accurately control the amount of rotation, as well as the origin of rotation and the axis around which the rotation occurs.
You can create nine different primitive shapes:
Tire, cone, rounded cube, rounded cylinder, plane, cube, sphere, cylinder, and torus. The Property button brings up a dialog box that lets you enter exact numbers for the measurements of the primitive. The Create button actually creates the primitive shape. You will get a new primitive each time you press the Create button.
Create a triangle or quad face by directly specifying 3 or 4 vertices. You can either create new vertices, or reuse existing vertices. If you have the Ctrl key pressed when you left-click, then you will re-use the closest existing vertex. If you don't have the Ctrl key pressed, but you are close to an existing vertex, you will reuse it, otherwise a new vertex will be created.
Note: You can change the distance that is considered 'close' by changing the Vertex setting of the Action panel of the main Configuration dialog.
THE CREATE SUB PANEL
Create front-facing faces.
Create back-facing faces.
Create both front and back faces. (Two faces will be created.)
A line is automatically created when the second point is specified.
A triangle is automatically created when the third point is specified.
A face is automatically created when the fourth point is specified.
Undoes the last point that was entered.
Adds the current line or triangle, rather than waiting for you to enter additional points.
Direct Face Tools: Del, Invert, Mat
These commands allow you to interactively change faces by clicking on them. You could also select the faces first, and then use the corresponding menu items.
The specified face is deleted.
The specified face is flipped.
The selected faces are extruded.
Moving the mouse to the left will indent the faces into the surface. Moving the mouse to the right will extrude the faces out of the surface. The Extrude command is similar to the 'Extrude faces' menu item. The difference is that the menu item lets you enter a numerical value, while the 'Extrd' tool is interactive.
The face is extruded normally. If multiple faces are selected and they are adjacent, then they will be extruded as a group.
The face is extruded, but becomes narrower as it is pushed further. If multiple faces are selected, they will be extruded individually, even if they are adjacent.
Lines and Vertices
As you drag the mouse, each selected line becomes a quad. Since only one action is required, the Pull command can be more convenient than the Create Face command.
The line you click on will be replaced with a face that you can interactively resize.
Allows you to smoothly adjust a collection of vertices. This command only operates on the vertices of the current object.
These specify the shape of the magnetic field.
If this checkbox is checked, only the selected vertices are affected.
If this checkbox is checked, the distance is measured along the edges of the mesh, rather than the distance in space.
Specifies the range (radius) of the magnetic field.
Lets you interactively set the range of the magnetic field. Click the 'Set Range' button, then click on a vertex and drag out the range.
The Wire command lets you edit your mesh. First you choose which of the five operations you want to perform, then you click and/or drag on the lines or vertices of the mesh to perform the operation.
From Top to Bottom:
Create a triangle
Divide a quadrangle into two triangles.
Insert a point on a line.
Swap a line two triangles share.
Merge two triangles into a quadrangle.
Create a triangle
This command works two ways:
1) Given two lines that share a vertex, click on one of the unshared vertices and drag to the other one. A triangular face will be created.
2) Click on any line and drag to either side. You will drag out the vertex of a new triangular face. Be careful if you do this on top of an existing face. The operation will succeed, but you will end up with a complicated shape that you may find hard to work with.
Divide a quadrangle into two triangles
Drag from any vertex of the quad to the opposite vertex. You will rubber band out a line that becomes the edge that splits the quad into two triangles.
Insert a point on a line
Click on any line and drag. A new vertex will be created, and when you let go one or more new triangles will be created.
Swap a line two triangles share
Click on any line that two triangles share. The line will be swapped. (You can click on the new line to swap back to the original line.)
Merge two triangles into a quadrangle
Click on any line that two triangles share. The line will be deleted, and the two
triangular faces will be merged into a single quad face.
Cut with a knife
Click and drag out the line across your mesh. Any face that is completely crossed by the line will be divided.
Cut straight faces
Drag from one side of a quad to the opposite side. The quad is divided in half, and the cut continues through neighbouring faces, in both directions. This can be used to quickly add more vertices to the mesh.
Erase chained lines
This operation is the opposite of 'Cut straight faces'. Click on any edge that divides two quads, and those two quads will be joined together into one quad. If there were two similarly joined quads on either side of the original pair, they are joined as well, and so on.
The View command panel has several commands that can be used to change the 3D Perspective Window's camera's position and orientation. If you get lost, and can't figure out where the camera is pointing, use the 'View: Set View' menu item.
Left button up/down expands or contracts the view. By default you can also zoom by rotating the mouse wheel, even if you aren't currently using the Zoom Command.
The left button lets you move the camera position. This is also known as the 'Pan' operation. By default you can also move the camera by pressing the middle mouse button, even if you aren't currently using the Move Command.
The left button lets you rotate the 3D scene around the current centre of rotation. Use the menu item 'Attribute: Set centre of rotation' to set the centre of rotation. By default you can also rotate the camera by pressing the right mouse button, even if you aren't currently using the Rotate Command.
Left button up/down changes the perspective.
Left button up/down moves the camera forwards or backwards through the 3D scene.
Metasequoia's 3D coordinate system is organized as in the diagram on the right. It is a right-handed coordinate system. By default, X is horizontal, Y is vertical, and Z is into and out of the screen. Notice the colour coding: X is red, Y is green, and Z is blue.
One document can contain two or more objects. Object panel You can use the object panel to perform 'layer'-like operations, where some parts of your document are visible, but inactive, while other parts can be freely edited.
Objects are made up of three parts: vertices, edges, and faces. (Abbreviated V, E, and F.) Faces have two sides: a front and a back.. When viewed from the back, a face is not visible. In Metasequoia only triangles and quads are allowed. Faces with more than four edges are not allowed.
World coordinates vs. Screen Coordinates
With some commands, such as the 'Movement' command, you can choose which coordinate system to use to perform the command. World coordinates are relative to the scene, no matter how the camera is pointed. Screen coordinates are relative to the camera. You can switch between coordinate systems by pressing the 'W' and 'S' buttons in the 'Edit Option' panel.
These options affect various editing commands, such as movement, rotation, and scale.
X,Y,Z Allows you to enable or disable movement in each axis.
These buttons may change to H, P, B (Heading, Pitch, Bank) depending upon the current command.
W Commands such as Move use World coordinates.
S Commands such as Move use Screen coordinates.
Pt You can perform the operation on Points (Vertices).
Ln You can perform the operation on Lines
Fc You can perform the operation on Faces
Rc You can drag-select using a rectangle. This option is especially helpful when face selection (Fc) is disabled.
Rp You can drag-select using a rope (also known as a Lasso) .
This option is especially helpful when face selection (Fc) is disabled.
CObj Only allow you to select parts of the current object.
Grid Turns on the snap-to-grid feature. Use the menu item 'View: Grid' to set the grid properties.
Sym Turns Symmetry on and off.
View Set the properties of the Perspective window
GDI Use GDI to draw. GDI is the standard 2D drawing library that is built in to Windows. Faces can't be displayed when using GDI.
MQR Use Metasequoia's built in software renderer to draw.
D3D Use Direct3D to draw.
If you right-click on the D3D button a dialog box will be displayed that lists how much graphics memory is free.
GL Use OpenGL to draw.
YZ,ZX,XY Display a reference grid on the named plane. You can turn on more than one reference grid at once, but the result can be confusing to look at.
You can control the grid line spacing by choosing the menu item 'View: Grid'.
Ax Displays the XYZ axes.
Lighting Click and drag in the view to set the direction of the light in the perspective view. You can check the 'Back' checkbox to set the light behind the object. (Which is known as a 'backlight').